Today’s Tidbits: March 28, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: March 28, 2018

Here are our tidbits for March 28, 2018:  latest Tiangong-1 reentry predictions; snapshots from NAC meetings re lunar plans, commercial crew, international cooperation and more.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Tiangong-1 Reentry Update

Predictions on when China’s small Tiangong-1 space station will reenter are narrowing to the morning of March 31 to the morning of April 2.  That’s expressed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the international time standard, which is the same as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or “Zulu.”  Eastern Daylight Time is UTC-4.

  • The Aerospace Corporation’s current estimate is April 1 at 07:15 UTC, plus or minus 20 hours.
  • ESA/ESOC’s current estimate is from the morning of March 31 to the afternoon of April 1 UTC.

There is some worry that if April 1 is the reentry date, it could spark April Fool’s jokes with misleading information.  Even without that, well-meaning people may THINK they have observed the reentry when it fact it’s something else (like an airplane or a meteor).  It will be best to wait for official word from the Chinese government (probably through its Xinhua news service, which is available on the Internet in English), ESA/ESOC, or U.S. Air Force Space Command.

Snapshots from the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) Meetings

Two NASA Advisory Council (NAC) committees met earlier this week and NAC itself met today (that meeting continues tomorrow).  The committees were Technology, Innovation & Engineering (TI&E) and Human Exploration and Operations (HEO).   Listening to the NASA presentations is like drinking from a firehose, as they say.  It’s far too much to summarize in detail, but here a few snapshots from our  tweets.  Check our Twitter feed (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more.

Lunar Plans and the Gateway 

(Bill Gerstenmaier or “Gerst” is NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, Jason Crusan is Director for Advanced Exploration Systems)

Commercial Crew Update

(Kathy Lueders is Commercial Crew Program Manager; Wayne Hale is a committee member)



During the discussion, Lueders agreed with a committee member who characterized the schedule as “aggressive”.

Proposal to Eliminate the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)

(Steve Jurczyk is Acting NASA Associate Administrator and until recently head of  STMD; Bill Ballhaus chairs the NAC TI&E committee; Jim Reuter is Acting Associate Administrator for STMD;  Gerst is Bill Gerstenmaier.)

Technology Focus Areas for Future

Commercial Robotic Lunar Landers

Update on NASA Administrator

International Cooperation

(Kathy Laurini is Senior Advisor, Exploration and Space)

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